Agency: Author: Pete Taylor

BMW Bikes – A Return to Oil, Grease and Fresh Air

INTRODUCTION

This paper is about how the planning process played a pivotal role in identifying a very different way of communicating with BMW bike riders. The transformation came from a two stage process – the first stage was turning a simple profiling questionnaire into an 'insight giver'; the second stage was using that learning to bring about the transformation. Using direct mail to communicate with existing BMW bike owners and prospects, the result was a shift in approach from straightforward and product focused to dynamic and interactive.

BACKGROUND

BMW bikes had for a long time been promoted in the same way as BMW cars – focusing on the core brand values of technology, performance, design and quality, as well as the elegance and status associated with BMW cars and the eponymous blue and white roundel. Previous communications had reflected this, both visually and tonally, with a very clean, elegant style, and an impersonal, detached feel. This approach both capitalised on and asserted the brand strength of BMW cars and its salience within the car market. Given that the average BMW bike rider is a man in his late 40's, it was assumed that they would want to buy into the traditional brand personality of BMW cars. However, BMW bikes lacked street cred, and with the growing number of high performance bikes on the market, expressing potency and youthfulness, it was felt that this passive approach might actually be labeling BMW bike riders as 'not real bikers'.

THE CATALYST